Today, I am overjoyed to announce that my books Mutt and Stray, along with their forthcoming sequels, have been accepted for publication by Random House Publishing Group.
The series, which has already found thousands of readers and won glowing reviews from the book blogging community, will be published in yearly intervals between now and 2017, starting with Mutt’s Random House re-release on November 27, 2013.
Random House is delivering $200,000 advances on the first two books, and for each subsequent book at the time of delivery. In addition, the publisher will be investing $200,000 per book on the series’ publicity campaign, for a total of $1,000,000.
Publishing Group President Gina Centrello called the deal “an enormous opportunity for our company,” also describing Stray as “quite possibly the best damn book we’ve ever read here at Random House.”
If you haven’t read the books, hurry up and grab Mutt on Amazon while the ebook is still free! Once I turn over my materials to the publisher, that’s that.
My immense thanks to everyone who continues to support the Rittenhouse Saga.
1 April, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: best new books, book review, dystopian, e-book, ebook, fantasy, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion tips, publishing deal, Random House, rittenhouse, rittenhouse saga, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, stray, The Hunger Games, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 1 Comment »
Good evening! The wonderful Dayla has posted her review of Stray on Bookaddict24-7. From the review:
One of my favorite aspects of Stray is how the uncertainty, fear, and urgency is felt throughout the novel. We, as readers, are made to empathize with Emery as he races against not just the odds, but the clock. We cringe with him as he uncovers truths, and feel deep sadness for the past secrets he shares.
Just like Mutt, Stray has a fantastic series of heart-pounding scenes where Emery is tested beyond his limits, and where the story reaches suspenseful climaxes. Fuller has a skill for creating anticipation and delivering what the reader seeks with style.
18 March, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, dystopia, dystopian, ebook, fantasy, free book, google, guerilla marketing, how to publish, indie, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, rittenhouse, rittenhouse saga, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, The Hunger Games, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
Stray, the sequel to Mutt, is now available everywhere!
In the depths of winter, Emery is digging. Two months after the conclusion of Mutt, he is building an underground highway into the walled city of Rittenhouse to smuggle food and medicine to those living in the wasteland outside. When the gateman Green comes to him with news of a secret shipment and plans to intercept it, Emery sees a chance at redemption for his past failings. But as the search pulls him into a broadening web of conspiracy, his closest friends worry he is in too deep, determined find the shipment–or lose everything.
And remember, Mutt is still free on Amazon, so if you haven’t read it yet, check it out!
22 February, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, barnes & noble, best new books, book cover, book review, divergent, dystopia, dystopian, e-book, ebook, fantasy, free book, harry potter, indie, indie author, mutt, post-apocalyptic, self publishing, stray, stray cover, The Hunger Games, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
I’m sure a few of you remember that I did a Name Your Price week for Mutt on Smashwords a couple of months ago. Well, being negligent, I forgot to change it back to regular pricing. It was no big deal; the book’s Smashwords page doesn’t get many hits, so without the promotion nobody was paying attention.
Nobody, that is, except Amazon. Somebody on their site found the Smashwords promotion, and as per their policy, Amazon matched the price. I should mention here that I’ve been very sick* for the past couple months and have failed to manage my online presence, which includes checking my sales reports. Tonight, I checked Amazon on a whim and discovered that I’ve “sold” about 900 free copies of Mutt in the past few weeks.
Right now I’m baffled and laughing out loud (I should note here that, with daily, round-the-clock promotion, I gave away about 50 free copies of the book for Name Your Price week). Mutt, the dystopian fantasy novel that’s won love and adoring reviews from all over Tumblr, will be free until I can be bothered to fix the price, so go get your copy on Amazon now!
Pass the word along!
*I’ll update about this at some point, but know for now it’s nothing life-threatening.
23 October, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, divergent, dystopian, e-book, ebook, free book, how to publish, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, muttbombing, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, The Hunger Games, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
“If a trivial mistake messes up my Cure for Warts one more time, I’m going to throw down my laptop, find the nearest pharmacy, and just buy some of that acid stuff my parents used to use when we were kids and got them on our feet. Where am I supposed to find my wand, anyway… Oh, there it is. Who the hell buried behind all this other stuff on the counter? Alright… Wait, what the hell do you mean, I got it wrong? That was perfect, Snape. You’re just envious because I’m the Chosen One and you never got with my mom…”
-Me, during the Potions tutorial
It’s been a while since my last update about Pottermore, mostly because it’s been a while since I last got to spend time with Pottermore. I’ve completed the Philosopher’s Stone sequence, and since doing so, I haven’t felt any great draw to continue.
Admittedly, I’ve had some fun with the site. After being assigned to Ravenclaw, I became acquainted with its potion-making and spell-casting minigames. They provided some passing entertainment, as did searching for collectible items in the story moments. But overall, after exploring a full novel’s worth of content, I’ve come away with the impression that Pottermore isn’t entirely sure what it wants to do, and as a result, it spends most of its (and its users’) time half-doing things.
I’m sure the site is set up this way to avoid impeding progress for people who just want to explore the story, the Pottermore’s various game elements never gel successfully with the story or each other. Gameplay features are generally introduced once before being relegated to their own corners of the site; after the tutorials the Spells and Potions mechanics were not used in the Philosopher’s Stone again. Even the exploration can barely be referred to as such. The setup of the Moments suggests the possibility of a point-and-click adventure game a la Myst, complete with puzzles to solve and environments that can be seamlessly explored. But Pottermore is not the kind of game, if it can be called a game at all.
And to be honest, after all the time of spent on the site, I don’t know what it’s trying to be. All the behind-the-scenes description and other exclusive pieces of writing are interesting in themselves, but if I really just wanted to read them, I’d prefer a more to-the-point interface than this. And if it was supposed to be an actual game, it needs to decide what kind of game. I’d be cool with a Myst-type adventure game like the kind the Moments are suggesting, and equally cool with the kind of MMORPG that seems to inspire Diagon Alley and the Potions mechanic.
I’ll probably keep up with Pottermore for a bit longer to see if there’s something I’m missing, and I do like reading the bonus content. But for a really immersive experience of the series’ world, returning to the novels and films is probably a better bet. And for those really stuck on finding a good interactive version of Hogwarts, this game might be the closest you’re going to get.
22 August, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, free book, harry potter, jk rowling, mutt, philadelphia, Philosopher's Stone, post-apocalyptic, potter, pottermore, promotion, promotion tips, ravenclaw, rowling, science fiction, self publishing, Snape, sorcerer's stone, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt | Leave A Comment »
This summer has been a great one for Mutt. The book’s first round of reviews has seen not one, not two, but seven glowing opinions. The unanimous praise from reviewers and overwhelming support from the book’s small but enthusiastic fanbase are more than I could have asked for. It’s time to take the next step–getting the book into as many hands as possible to spread the word. So I’m doing something unprecedented for the end of summer:
Beginning at Midnight (Eastern Standard Time), Mutt will be available as a Name Your Price book on Smashwords for one week.
Here’s what that means.
Q. What’s this Name Your Price thing?
It’s exactly what it sounds like. You choose how much you want to pay for the book. You can download it for free, pay something crazy like $100, or anything in between.
Q. So wait, I can get the book for free?
Q. Is that, like, cool?
Yeah. If you download the book for free and decide you really like it, feel free to go back and pay for a copy! Anything you can spare helps. But my immediate goal is to get the book out there. So if you don’t have spare cash (or credit card access), this is your one-time chance to grab the book with no strings attached.
Q. If I really like the book and want to support it but don’t have any money, what can I do to help?
Just spread the word. Force your friends to read it through threat of violence, post about it on your blog, tell your parents to buy a copy for your little siblings. Whenever a new person is being exposed to Mutt, I’m doing better than I was before.
Q. Why isn’t the book free all the time?
Artists love to say they’re “not in it for the money.” While that’s a good sentiment, and while I write because I love to write, money is vital in two ways: it allows me to spend less time at my day job at more time writing, and it covers the direct costs of publishing the books. I’m still working toward regaining what I spent on Mutt, and once that’s covered, I’ll be raising money for the publication of Stray. The amount I raise from sales of Mutt will determine everything from Stray’s release date to whether and when a print version is available.
19 August, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, e-book, ebook, free book, free e-book, free ebook, how to publish, indie, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 2 Comments »
This past week I had the utterly awesome opportunity to do an author interview with Dayla at Bookaddict24-7. Dayla was the first blogger ever to review Mutt, and the interview was a total blast. The interview has the first details about Stray, the forthcoming sequel to Mutt, and a photograph of me if you’ve been wondering what I look like. Here’s a little sample:
What’s the best thing anyone has ever said about your writing and what is the worst?
“That first one is hard to answer, just because my friends and the bloggers reviewing Mutt have been so kind. So I’ll go with a curveball: one blogger who wrote a very positive review of the book half-jokingly called me a dick for one late-book plot development (this was in an e-mail, not the review itself). I was really honored and excited to see that the story was captivating people to that degree and producing those gut reactions
And I’ve had some pretty critical things said about my work, mostly in workshop classes at school, but the most offensive thing to me was when a perfectly well-meaning person called me an “aspiring writer.” I would’ve been less offended at “unsuccessful writer” or even “bad writer,” because “aspiring writer” suggests that I want to write in the future or think about writing a lot. I don’t aspire to write; I sit down and write.”
Go check out the whole interview on the site, and be sure to follow Dayla for all-around good content. She’s a writer too and posts updates with her progress, which can be great encouragement for those banging away at our own manuscripts. And as always, grab your copy of Mutt on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords if you haven’t already. Peace and love!
5 August, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, anne lamott, best new books, bird by bird, book review, bookaddict24-7, books, confessions of a book addict, dystopian, e-book, ebook, how to publish, indie author, interview, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
Hi, gang! The seventh review of Mutt just went up over on The Book Lover’s List. Debbie awarded the book four out of five stars and had some really awesome things to say about it. From the review:
Evan Fuller really got his message across with this tale about how kindness will always help you when you truly need someone or something. [He] gave a lot of examples of kindness shared between the characters and how it benefitted them somehow in the end. Mutt by Evan Fuller is a great read for anyone who enjoys dystopian stories with adventure, danger, and being forced to trust people who you despise. I can only wonder when his next book will be coming out.
Read the full review on the site, and be sure to follow the blog if you have a Tumblr account. You can grab your copy of Mutt on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords if the review piques your interest!
I’d like to thank not only Debbie but all the bloggers who have reviewed the book so far. I’m hard at work on the next book, and I hope I’ll be able to repay your kindness by blowing your expectations out of the water.
31 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, indie author, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publishing, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 1 Comment »
With a bigger, better RAM stick installed, I was ready to revisit the world of Pottermore with hopes of actually being able to run the site. I noticed two things in rapid succession: first, the interactive “moments” were indeed running far more smoothly, and second, these pages were painfully boring. I’m sorry, but I have yet to understand how clicking through some mostly-static scenes to collect salt shakers and seaweed is supposed to enhance my experience of the fiction. I progressed slowly through these scenes, thinking I must be missing something: this couldn’t possibly be the point, could it?
When I reached the Diagon Alley scenes, things began to open up a bit. There were items to buy with different attributes, and it appeared that these would aid in actual gameplay sections later on (at the time of this writing, I still haven’t reached a section where I make actual use of these items). Having kept both birds and toads in real life, I selected a cat as my magical creature. When all that was done, I went to Olivander’s and got myself a larch wand with a phoenix feather core. Eleven inches, rigid. Damn right.
Wand in hand, I hurried through the next few scenes to the one I’d been waiting for since I started on site: the Sorting Hat. I was subjected to the rather awkward and obtrusive video of Rowling explaining the sorting process (my friend had mentioned this to me before, and its awkwardness did not disappoint) and then began the quiz itself.
I have to stop here to ask if anyone, while reading the Potter books are watching the films, ever actually thought to herself, “Hufflepuff is totally the coolest house.” Friends of mine have described it as “the stoner house;” it’s where you go if you get into wizard school but don’t really stand out beyond that. I mean, Slytherin is kind of strange in that it seemingly exists only the harbor the fiction’s equivalent of neo-Nazis, but I do have friends who favor that house (probably due in no small part to the awesome that is Alan Rickman). I haven’t met a single person in real life who wants to be in Hufflepuff.
So while the rational part of my mind knew I was destined for Ravenclaw, there was a fear that my nice-guy tendencies (combined with a possible desire on the part of the site’s creators to distribute users somewhat evenly among the houses) might push me toward Hufflepuff. Try as I may to answer the questions honestly, that fear might have influenced me when I chose to save Merlin’s book before the dragonpox cure. In the end, the fear was unfounded; some users end up on the cusp between two houses and have to choose for themselves. I wasn’t one of them.
Greetings to all my new housemates. Check back soon for Part III!
15 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, alan rickman, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, fantasy, harry potter, how to publish, hufflepuff, indie, indie author, j.k. rowling, jk rowling, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, potter, pottermore, promotion, promotion tips, ravenclaw, rowling, self publishing, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 4 Comments »
My curiosity to experience Pottermore reached a boiling point yesterday after I learned that the site was not only an interactive way to interface with the Harry Potter story but also Ms. Rowling’s coming-out party as an indie publisher of the Potter ebooks. As an indie myself, I find Rowling’s “Radiohead move” from traditional to independent distribution to be of especial interest, so I’ll be documenting my experiences with the site.
There was a moment of fear for me when the text surrounding the Sign Up button said, Before you can begin your Pottermore journey, you need to find out whether or not you are magical…” What? Would I get my hopes up, only to find out I was some mere muggle after all? Thankfully, no. When the first page after the account creation screen announced, “Congratulations! You Are Magical,” I did feel a momentary excitement seeing my name above Mr. Potter’s own. Maybe this was some grand new beginning for the Harry Potter story, and this time I’d get to slay Voldemort myself, with Harry as my loveable sidekick with the cool scar and bad temper.
Then I reached the next screen. Wait, what the hell? I had to choose from five preselected usernames? I’d just hoped to use “kingofautumn” like I do on most sites. I hadn’t intended to name my account “ButtS3KS” or something involving my social security number. And even given the preselected usernames, why isn’t there a way to see more options than the first five presented? (Even refreshing the page did nothing here.) I ended up choosing “LightSeer 16166,” trying not to think that there were probably other LightSeers before me, as many as 16165.
So I got into the main portal for the site, which I found could barely run on my netbook. (I made a long-needed memory upgrade today, and the site is running for more smoothly now.) It was on this page that I began overwhelmingly to feel what I’m sure countless other users of the site have felt: a profound disconnect between Pottermore and the Harry Potter aesthetic familiar to fans. It takes a bit of external knowledge to discern the cause of this.
As I said, Rowling is self-releasing the Potter ebooks exclusively through the site. A bit of background, as best I understand the situation: Rowling’s contracts with Scholastic and Bloomsbury were written before the Kindle and similar devices made ebooks a significant force in the market, so the publishers included no provision granting them rights to the ebook versions of the Harry Potter books. Rather than sign the rights to these books away, Rowling decided to maintain complete control over the ebooks and publish them independently. She has also made Pottermore the exclusive vendor of the books, bypassing major retailers such as Amazon.
While she has the rights of the books themselves, it appears that a lot of the art assets have been retained by the publishers—or, in the case of the assets created for the films, by Warner*. Even the ubiquitous Harry Potter font is absent from the site design, and trademark visual elements like the house insignias had been redesigned from the ground up. (Once I realized this, I was surprised to see that Rowling had even been allowed use of the original book covers for the books.) Pottermore is about creating Harry Potter experience controlled by Rowling and Rowling alone, one she can do with as she pleases in every regard. I’m not quite sure what I think of it just yet, but it’s a noble endeavor, at the very least.
*EDIT: I’d originally cited Disney as the distributor of the Harry Potter films. Oops.
14 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, bloomsbury, book review, books, deathly hallows, disney, dystopian, e-book, ebook, harry potter, how to publish, indie, indie author, j.k. rowling, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, pottermore, promotion, rittenhouse, rowling, scholastic, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, sorcerer's stone, sorting hat, YA, You're Just A Mutt | 4 Comments »
As an independent author, it’s probably a foregone conclusion that I love ebooks. They’ve created a market that didn’t exist before, giving self-publishing writers a feasible way to release their books affordably and reach their audiences. Every review of Mutt published so far has been written by someone reading the ebook. The digital medium has also given me cause to rethink story structure entirely; my next series after the Rittenhouse Saga will likely be a sequence of very short (30-40,000-word) novels released biannually at a $2.99 price point.
It may surprise you to learn I don’t actually read ebooks.
Well, that isn’t entirely true. I’m presently making my way through a Poetry Magazine anthology on my phone’s Kindle reader. I also use it for a lot of nonfiction reading, as it’s easier to annotate and reference texts than in print. But I don’t own a dedicated e-reader, and I’m still reading fiction almost exclusively via dead-tree books.
After getting all those books yesterday, I had immediate buyer’s remorse—not at my selections but at the medium in which I’d purchased them. In addition to all the benefits I see from the perspective of a content creator, idea of an e-reader appeals to me from the customer end because it’s a way to consolidate my physical possessions. So should I just put down the $99 for a Kindle, return the paperbacks, and get the same books digitally?
For one thing, I did some comparative shopping and found that the subtotal for the four books would only have been $1 less than the cost of the print versions. Graceling was a bit cheaper; American Gods was inexplicably more for the ebook than the 500-page print version. And in addition, while American Gods and Neuromancer were mass-market paperbacks, both Graceling and Paper Towns were inexpensive trades. The money a publisher saves on ebooks versus print (and trust me, the claim that that cost difference is negligible is a myth) should reflect in retail. If we indies can manage to offer deep discounts on our ebooks, the major houses should be able to afford a discount of at least a dollar versus the cheapest print version of the same book, especially for a book like Neuromancer that’s been on the market for decades.
I’m also concerned by how digital media is redefining the idea of ownership. When I buy a print book, I obtain a physical item that is irrevocably my possession. When I buy an ebook, I’m actually only licensing that data on a limited and reversible basis. I read a story a month or two ago (link when I find it again) that a man whose Amazon account was deleted, Kindle library and all, on a rather ludicrous suspicion that someone had been trying to illegally access the account. When the man’s ebooks were ultimately replaced, he had lost years’ worth of annotations. This sort of thing is obviously very rare, and I don’t really have a legitimate fear of it happening to me if I buy a Kindle, but it does underscore the fact that in the digital world, “ownership” can always be reversed.
(A sidenote: if you ever lose access to a purchased copy of one of my books for any reason, please just let me know. As long as I control the rights to my work, I’ll happily replace anything lost due to a hard drive crash, a car running over your e-reader, etc. )
One thing is for certain: if I do by a Kindle (and it will likely be a Kindle, if only because Amazon’s royalties to writers are slightly better than B&N’s), I’m going to avoid the 3G model. Connecting the device to my computer for ebook purchases may be inconvenient, but it also ensure that I more frequently consider buying from vendors like Smashwords. I do love Amazon, given that they’re the ones who opened the ebook market up in the first place, but I never want to become so attached to one outlet that I don’t shop around.
I’d love to hear some thoughts on this one, both from writers and readers. Does the idea of ownership vs. licensing matter to you? How have people’s transitions to the ebook medium gone so far?
12 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, amazon, American Gods, barnes & noble, best new books, book review, books, digital licensing, drm, e-book, ebook, ebook prices, ebook vs print, Graceling, how to publish, indie, indie author, John Green, kindle, kindle vs nook, marketing tips, mutt, Neil Gaiman, Neuromancer, nook, Paper Towns, philadelphia, poetry magazine, post-apocalyptic, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, William Gibson, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
Hey, guys and gals! I’m happy to present the latest review of Mutt, this one by Madeline at Read Like Breathing. She’s super cool, and I was happy to find that she had some great things to say about the novel. From the review:
I also loved the characters. They’re so human in these inhuman circumstances, they question and fear and strive to be better against all the odds. You’re also introduced to some people who are obviously striving for power regardless of the consequences, which ends up adding glorious and painful twists to the story. There are a lot of different elements that work together, and for once, guess what? NO TEENAGE ANGSTY ROMANCE. I thought I was going to die and go to heaven when I realized that. Just average human encounters, without all the disgusting appeal to the 14 year old masses.
Go check out the full review, and be sure to follow Read Like Breathing for other reviews and quality content in general. And as always, don’t forget to grab your copy of Mutt on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords if you haven’t yet!
10 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, dystopian, e-book, how to publish, indie author, Madeline Knight, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, Read like breathing, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, YA, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 3 Comments »
So you’re writing a dystopian/fantasy/science fiction/[insert genre here] story and you’re wondering how to raise the stakes and get the reader involved. Why not create some massive and terrible power that threatens to eradicate the world/realm/human life as we know it? After all, Tolkien did it. Martin is doing it, among the numerous other things he’s doing. And two out of every three video game plotlines do it. It must be a great idea, right?
Here are three reasons why, in most cases, it’s really isn’t.
1) When everything is at stake, nothing is at stake.
If you’re at all familiar with stories that use the world-at-stake trope, you’ve probably noticed by now how few of them succeed in achieving any sort of real emotional connection with the audience. One of two things happens. The end of the world is just too large a thing to grasp fully, so the threat is unreal. There’s this brilliant passage toward the beginning of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy *MINOR SPOILER* where Arthur is in shock after the destruction of his planet and is trying to wrap his mind around it:
He tried again: America, he thought, has gone. He couldn’t grasp it, He decided to start smaller again. New York has gone. No reaction. He’d never seriously believed it existed anyway. The dollar, he thought, has sunk for ever. Slight tremor there. Every “Bogart” movie has been wiped, he said to himself, and that gave him a nasty knock. McDonald’s, he thought. There is no longer any such thing as a McDonald’s hamburger. He passed out.
When he came round a moment later he was sobbing for his mother.
Worse, if a plot doesn’t manage to establish interest on any other level, threatening the end of the world just underscores how tenuous the audience’s connection to the story is. In the worst case, as we see in some disaster movies with poor writing and unlikable characters, Armageddon can be either boring or vaguely amusing. And on the other hand, if your story is successfully making the reader care already, do you really need to tack on a doomsday scenario?
2) Don’t draw a weapon you aren’t prepared to use.
Another reason threatening the world makes for such a boring plot mechanic is that, aside from those boring disaster movies, few fictions ever follow through on the threat (the aforementioned Hitchhiker’s Guide doesn’t really fall on either side here, as the doomsday event is the setup for the plot, not the stakes). There is an expectation the audience’s minds that the conclusion of the story is pretty much forgone, as the world won’t actually be
In the case of ongoing plotlines (as in television or comics), this non-threat becomes almost comical. In the second season of Buffy, the vampire Spike makes not one but multiple attempts to unleash demons who will bring about the apocalypse/kill every human on earth/etc. We know virtually beyond a doubt that the world isn’t going to end midway through the show’s second season, so how does this even constitute a conflict? Thankfully, there are much more interesting things happening at the same time, things involving character choices and tangible stakes and sacrifice. But again, this begs the question, why even bother with threatening the end of the world? In Buffy there’s also usually a satirical aspect to the threat, and the thing it’s mocking is the story that tries to make serious use of the same mechanic. It’s best not to be the person writing that story.
3) Anticlimax is a turnoff (yes, that was a rather tame attempt at lewd humor).
Genre fiction generally favors series over standalone stories. There’s nothing wrong with that. I like series; I’m writing one right now. But the key to a good series arc is escalation. That means continually having something bigger and more gripping then what you displayed in the last installment, and the bigger you start, the faster you’re going to run out of room to escalate. If you start with the world at stake, where do you go from there?
A great example of this is BioWare’s Dragon Age series of role-playing games. In the first game, you play as a hero tasked with stopping a rather generic demon invasion called the Blight. The first game demonstrates both of the other problems I’ve named here: the Blight is far less interesting than the stories of many of the game’s side quests, and there’s never any real question as to whether the player will emerge victorious. The second game stars a refugee fleeing from the same invasion the hero of the first game overcomes. You end up involved in the politics of the city named Kirkwall, which could’ve been an interesting story in itself, but in addition to Dragon Age II’s sub-par writing, there’s an overwhelming feeling that you’re no more than a footnote against the events of the first game.
I’m not saying that world-in-peril plotlines never work, and if it happens to be that you’re writing a story consciously exploring themes surrounding the world’s potential end, it’s certainly possible that the outcome will be both insightful and engaging. But if you’re just trying to find some way to make your reader care, start with something smaller, more personal, and derived from your own experience. That’s where the best stories come from anyhow.
10 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, BioWare, Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Douglas Adams, Dragon Age, Dragon Age II, dystopian, e-book, ebook, fandom, Hitchhiker's Guide, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, indie author, Joss Whedon, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, Prose Protip, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, writing advice, writing tips, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 1 Comment »
When I received my first trade paperback copies of Mutt, it occurred to me if the hand-number the first 100 copies of the book. That way, when my writing is in wider circulation than the combined works of J. K. Rowling and St. Paul, my earliest supporters would have a unique and hopefully valuable collector’s item.
It was a great idea in theory, but I fear I’ve botched the execution somewhat.
What I’ve learned since beginning this experiment is at one should never hand-number a large number of items without either A) doing them all at once or B) keeping a master list for consistency. Being the brilliantly disorganized artistic type that I am, I cleverly opted to do neither of these.
Now, with a few books from this first pressing still left, I’ve lost count, and due to the rather nonlinear way I’ve distributed them, I can’t simply count the remaining ones and work backward.
The remaining books will probably be marked “First Pressing,” and thanks to a code printed in the backs of the books, I’ll be able to distinguish them from books from future runs. But let my sloppiness serve as a lesson to you: always do the bit of extra work beforehand to prevent enormous hassle in the future.
8 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, books, dystopian, indie author, mutt, oops, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, printing, promotion, promotion tips, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
Back in May, I posted about “Muttbombing,” my subtle and complex strategy to attain placement on book store displays (by sneaking copies of Mutt into the store and putting them there). For all you indies and readers out there wondering whether the books flew off the shelves or were discovered by store staff and discarded, here’s an update on how the plan has worked out so far.
A couple weeks ago, a friend texted me this picture:
It appears that when the kind staff found the books, they simply shelved them. (They’re ending up in adult sci-fi and fantasy rather than in YA, which I’ll have to look into.) I haven’t received a royalty statement yet, but given that there are only four instead of the five I left, I’m assuming someone bought one of them. Better yet, the friend who sent this picture felt compelled to buy one upon seeing them there.
Now for the next part of the experiment. If you live in Philadelphia, go to the Rittenhouse Barnes & Noble and buy yourself a copy, or even better, buy all three and give the other two to your favorite people. I want to see if they’ll order more once they’ve sold through them all…
7 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, barnes & noble, best new books, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, muttbombing, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
Yesterday, Valerie Jones posted her awesome review of Mutt on If You Like Books. From the review:
Fuller’s style is engrossing; you will not want to stop reading once you start, and at only 200 pages you won’t have to. Fuller does not waste time with any superfluous content. Every word, every idea, has purpose. The dystopian future of Mutt is fully fleshed out, with enough ambiguity about its creation to leave the reader eager to read the rest of the series. At first you might expect Mutt to be one of “those” stories – dystopian future, magic, disparate social classes, we’ve all seen it before – but Mutt does not come across this way. There is no cheesy magic or superficial wonder. None of the characters is a shell or hackneyed, though many of the typical archetypes are present. The small details in Mutt give the reader a lot to think about – for both the characters and our own future.
If you run a book blog or website and are interested to review Mutt, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk.
Thanks to Valerie for taking the time to read the book and for writing such a thoughtful review!
6 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: best new books, book review, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, if you like books, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promoting ideas, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publishing, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 2 Comments »
(To make up for my most recent failure to update, I’ll be doing two posts a day for a bit. Later today, I’ll be featuring the most recent review of Mutt, so be sure to check back!)
The Internet is abuzz with columnists have nothing better to do writing articles about whether Merida, the heroine of Pixar’s new film Brave, is a lesbian. I was going to write about that, but given that it’s a painfully boring nonissue (her dislike of arranged marriage is the only information the film gives us on her sexuality either way), I’m going to write about the actual content of the film instead.
A friend and I went to see it a few days ago; beforehand, the sounds I’d heard surrounding the film online indicated that it was a good film but not quite on par with Pixar’s past few releases. I’d largely agree with that statement, but with a slight revision: it’s an excellent film, and if it pales in comparison to Pixar’s other recent work, that’s only because we’re comparing it to some of the best movies made in years.
One can think of Brave either as a simple but worthy addition to Pixar’s legendary filmography or as a progressive new entry in Disney’s princess collection. To me, it feels as though the film is a response to and commentary on the latter classification of films, in which “happily ever after” inevitably finds a young girl promptly wedded to a groom usually of noble birth and less frequently noble (as much as I love classics like Beauty and the Beast, I shudder to think of the types of relationships they’re modeling for young girls). In a terrifying future reality where I have children, Brave is a film I could happily show both my sons and daughters—without necessitating a long conversation afterward about how you probably shouldn’t date someone who treats you terribly/scares the living hell out of you.
It’s also a film that has something to say about family ties, conflict resolution, and valuing the people in your life the way they are. These themes are admittedly more common to children’s films than WALL-E’s dissection of American consumerism and environmental destruction or Toy Story 3’s existential crisis, and it would be hard to argue that Brave matches the depth of either. But the film is gorgeous, impressively patient in its pacing for a children’s affair, and still far more memorable than most non-Pixar Disney releases in recent years.
The wild lesbian sex scenes were great too, of course.
6 July, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: book review, books, Brave, children's films, film review, films, great film, hot lesbian sex, idiot reporters, indie author, lesbian, Merida, movie review, mutt, new movies, no really, philadelphia, Pixar, post-apocalyptic, promotion, self publication, sex, stupid, threesome, Toy Story, Wall-E, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt | Leave A Comment »
I’m an English student and a terribly slow reader, and the leisure reading for which I do find time spans a wide range of genres and subjects. I do try, however, to stay relatively current with trends in young adult literature, given that I’m a YA author myself. Most recently, I finished Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and between it and The Hunger Games, I’ve begun to notice a trend in female protagonists of YA dystopia. (Of course, having read only the two, I can’t be completely sure it’s a trend, but since these seem to be trendsetters in the movement, I’m going to go ahead with that assumption.)
With the success of the Twilight franchise in recent years, admittedly a disaster for women’s empowerment, these more recent female authors seem to be writing their protagonists as responses to Bella Swan’s character weakness and hyper-dependence. I find that a worthwhile pursuit, but it interests me that the vehicle for doing so has been martial strength and a propensity for violence.
It’s worth noting, of course, that the worlds of all these series are far more violent in general than those their readers inhabit. So too are those of countless fictions featuring male protagonists; Ender’s Game, a favorite of mine and a novel from which Divergent takes countless cues, features horrendous violence by characters as young as six years old. It will be unfair me to give these stories a pass while criticizing the violence of Divergent or The Hunger Games, and quite frankly, neither of these books struck me as particularly graphic (I actually found THG surprisingly tame, given its premise). I’m just wondering if there are ways to show strength in a protagonist, whether male or female, that don’t involve physical combat.
The problem with using violence to establish a character’s strength is that it carries its own baggage. It isn’t a neutral thing; by wielding it, an author is shaping not only a character but the moral framework of her story’s world. When Tris starts shooting people, Roth isn’t merely giving us information about Tris. Intentionally or not, she’s making an ethical statement about the use of violence as a means of conflict resolution. I haven’t read Insurgent yet, and the third book in the trilogy is forthcoming, so I don’t know how should develop this theme. But taking Divergent as a statement unto itself, violence appears the only viable response to violence.
Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh, but I really found Tris to be an abrasive and unsympathetic character in general. If Bella Swann is spineless and painfully boring, Tris’ general hostility isn’t much better. (It’s also worth noting that despite their apparent differences, in the fall for the same sort of emotionally abusive, I’m-no-good-for-you type of guy.) I don’t know whether Roth intended it for her protagonist to be any sort of role model, and of course, it’s perfectly fine if she didn’t. But insofar as we view Tris as a response to Bella, it bears mentioning that empowerment isn’t the same thing as brutality.
23 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, breaking dawn, catching fire, divergent, dystopia, indie author, insurgent, mockingjay, mutt, post-apocalyptic, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, stephanie meyer, Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games, twilight, veronica roth, women's issues, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 3 Comments »
I haven’t managed to post since my last entry about a week ago reporting that I was in a bike accident. While my injury wasn’t severe, I’ve since found that the general strain of working on a bad leg can really sap one’s energy. I’ve spent a lot of time hobbling, sleeping, and running errands to get both my bike and my leg back in working order.
I’d like to apologize to everyone has been reading along; beginning now, I feel I should be able to return to my daily update schedule. Since on some days I have little to report, I’m going to be diversifying my content somewhat. About half of my posts will still be updates on my promotion of Mutt, with links to reviews and other hopefully-exciting news. On other days, I’ll be both promoting other artists of all varieties and writing about the books I’m reading, with a specific focus on works in my genre.
Tomorrow, or perhaps later tonight if I’m feeling really ambitious (given the dearth of new content on here recently), I’ll be starting with an essay on recent female protagonists in dystopia as a reaction to those in the paranormal romance genre. Have a great evening!
22 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, book review, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, google, indie author, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promoting ideas, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
It seems like I have a new review to report every few days now. The most recent is by Rebecca at Good, Bad, And Ugly Books. The review awards the book with an awesome score of 9.7/10, as great a rating as I could possibly have anticipated. From the review:
Even if this “isn’t your type” of book, you have to try it. I loved it so much! You will love the setting, plot, characters, and writing. And those are, for me, the four great-book keys. And this book has it all. So go read it!
Read the full review here, and be sure to follow the blog for coverage of more great books. Thanks to Rebecca for taking the time to read Mutt (on a computer screen, no less) and for offering such a stellar appraisal. More to come in the very near future.
14 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 2 Comments »
One of the most crushing moments growing up in the information age was when I first realized there were other, better-known individuals who share my name. It’s a matter of luck and the creativity of one’s parents, but one may find himself in line behind any number of other people for the use of his own name. Thankfully, none of the other Evan Fullers in the world are ultra-famous, but it’s been clear to me for years that in order to achieve name recognition as an author, I’d need to either build a more prevalent web presence than the rest of them or use a pseudonym.
I chose the former option, and thanks to all of you who’ve been reading this blog every day, I’m making progress toward that goal.
In the time since starting my daily updates three weeks ago, I’ve risen to #3 result on Google searches for Evan Fuller, as well as #1 on Yahoo. I’m staking out three of the top five spaces on Google searches for “You’re Just a Mutt.”
Getting associations for “Mutt” has been quite a bit more difficult, given it’s a much more common word. I haven’t broken the top 100 for that one just yet, but at the rate things have been going, I’m sure we’ll see some kind of progress relatively soon.
13 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, adwords, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, guerilla marketing, how to publish, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promoting ideas, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, self publication, self publishing, you promised you'd take me to see the king, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »
Good evening, boys and girls! Today I am happy to report another glowing review of Mutt. Written by Minerva and Marie at Reading Our Way Through Life, the review awards the book a superb four and half stars, and both critics recommend it “for anyone intrigued by dystopian novels or just craving a good adventure.”
You can read the full review on their site, and be sure to follow their Tumblr.
The unanimous praise the book has received so far is really overwhelming, and several more reviews should be appearing in the coming weeks. I’d like to thank Minerva and Marie for taking the time to read the book and share their thoughts.
11 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, best new books, book review, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, self publishing, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | 2 Comments »
This is my first entry written using speech recognition, and as such, it’s probably going to be a lot more free association than actual content. It occurred to me that using speech recognition is less a terrible interface and more one akin to learning to drive a manual transmission: painful even after one masters the basics, but ultimately a useful tool once one is comfortable with it. What I’m learning is that it’s less straight speech and more a combination of the two interfaces, using the keyboard for punctuation and the like. (Having to explain an opening parenthesis to the computer takes more trouble than simply typing it, but on the other hand, long swaths of text are easier to dictate than to type, on such occasions, at least, as the program understands them correctly.) I’m told that adapts to the user’s voice over time, so hopefully with discipline it will become less painful. I’m also stuck using Microsoft software until I can afford the RAM upgrade to run Dragon. As frustrating as it is, however, my various doctors were correct in that it does take much of the strain of my hands. I’ve only had to type about ten words in this paragraph so far and about half of the punctuation.
I should add that I’m doing this in the coffee shop and I’m sure I look and sound absolutely insane to the other patrons.
Today I hope to finish proofreading and revising my manuscript, which you know I’ve been saying every day since I started it and probably for several months prior. After that a single take advantage of the great weather and continue my stickering campaign. A friend of mine spot and one of the stickers about town today in texted of me a picture of it. I’m glad to see the magic is spreading already; hopefully once the stickers everywhere, they’ll generate traffic to the site and find a host of delightful new readers for Mutt.
More reviews should be coming very soon to some wonderful book blocks near you.
8 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, book review, books, dictation, dictation software, dragon, dragon dictate, dystopian, e-book, ebook, indie author, marketing tips, mic check, mutt, philadelphia, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, science fiction, self publication, self publishing, speech recognition, You're Just A Mutt | 2 Comments »
Most of my work today was focused on reading/revising the draft of the sequel rather than promoting Mutt. Writing comes more naturally to me than promotion, so I’m totally in my zone right now being totally fried on too much coffee at going on 4 AM.
What started out as a simple proofreading, with the intended addition of one scene, is quickly evolving into a complete second draft of the book. I’ve added more than 3,000 words (including that new scene) and changed a few things about some character conflicts, and I’m less than halfway done my proofreading. I’m also cutting out unneeded words everywhere I can. It’s going to be a noticeably longer book than Mutt, but I’m trying to stick to the same principals of brevity, tight pacing, and no wasted pages. It’s a more complex story that explores a bit more of the world at which Mutt only glimpses, but I’m hoping it’ll never feel like it’s getting sidetracked in that exploration. I’m trying to keep my world-building largely in the margins and never present the reader with any information that feels like it’s tangential or not immediately relevant. This is a fine line to walk for a SF/F writer given that so many readers of the genre dig exhaustive world-building and detail, but hopefully these books will appeal to people who are turned off by that style, as well as those who need something a bit lighter after braving The Wheel Of Time or A Song Of Ice And Fire.
Related: I finished A Dance With Dragons. It was pretty good. I won’t drop any spoilers for all you people watching Game of Thrones on HBO, but I will say the books are well worth your time, if you can stomach the 5,000 page investment.
8 June, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: a dance with dragons, a song of ice and fire, advertising, best new books, books, dystopian, e-book, ebook, game of thrones, george r. r. martin, indie author, marketing tips, mutt, post-apocalyptic, promotion, promotion tips, rittenhouse, robert jordan, self publication, self publishing, You're Just A Mutt, young adult | Leave A Comment »